Fred Wilpon’s large campaign contribution to Andrew Cuomo has been noticed.
There was, at least to New York Post editors, a curious contribution from the New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 re-election campaign finance committee. Wilpon gave Cuomo’s campaign a $65,000 check. Normally a campaign contribution would simply be reported but this one raised some eyebrows over at the Rupert Murdoch tabloid. Wilpon is part of a group that includes the New York Islanders ownership, the Madison Square Garden ownership and some others that want to build an Islanders arena on New York State land on the Belmont Racetrack property. The state has received some proposals for the land development that include the Islanders arena and a soccer stadium for the MLS’s NYCFC franchise. Wilpon has opened his checkbook before for Cuomo. His last contribution to the campaign was for $35,000.
The Belmont property is overseen by the New York state Empire State Development board and who appoints members to the board? The governor, Andrew Cuomo. The Empire State Development spokesperson claims that Cuomo has no say on the bidding. But it sure seems a governor can get his or her way despite some agency spokesperson saying that isn’t the case. After all money talks in politics. The New York State Attorney General and Comptroller also have to approve the winning bid but the comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are members of Cuomo’s Democrat party. Wilpon is playing by the rules in New York. People who do business with the state can give candidates a good chunk of cash. Cuomo and the state want a Belmont sports and entertainment complex partially to get full use out of a Long Island Railroad station that is only open during the racing season. There is a reason that stadium and arena building is called the stadium game. Politicians ultimately decide if one is built. Campaign contributions help.
Islanders ownership wants a new building